General strike in Nigeria on hold as wage negotiations advance

The Nigerian Labor Congress, a trade-union umbrella organization, has suspended a general strike it launched on September 26, ahead of new negotiations for a substantially higher minimum wage.

The strike involved workers from many industries, including the medical, health and petroleum and natural gas industries.

Government offices were shut in the capital Abuja, and most banks were closed.

Workers are demanding nearly triple the current minimum wage (from 18,000 naira or $50 to 50,000 naira or $164 per month).

Striking workers were back on the job on October 2, with a tripartite negotiating committee on minimum wage scheduled to meet for October 4.

President Muhammadu Buhari, who plans to run for reelection next February, had said he would look at raising the minimum wage in light of a currency devaluation, which left citizens with hikes in fuel prices and reduced buying power.

Nigeria is Africa’s largest producer of crude oil.

A majority of state governors in Nigeria, which has a federalist system, have argued that states should be allowed to set their own minimum wage, as in the United States.

Sources: Premium Times (Nigeria), Africa News, Reuters

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